Saturday, December 31, 2011

2012

✫✫✫✫¸.•°*”˜˜”*°•.✫✫✫✫¸.•°*”˜˜”*°•.✫✫✫✫ ◕▄███▄◕──◕▄██▄◕──◕▄███◕──◕▄███▄◕ ◕▀──██◕─◕██──██◕───◕██◕──◕▀──██◕ ◕──██◕──◕██──██◕───◕██◕──◕──██◕ ◕─██◕───◕██──██◕───◕██◕──◕─██◕ ◕█████◕──◕▀██▀◕───◕▄██▄◕─◕█████◕ ✿♥❀♥❁•*¨✿❀❁•*¨`*•.✿❀❁•*¨`*•.`✿♥❀♥❁♥




Have a happy and safe transition into the new year everyone!



Monday, December 26, 2011

opposite of epic

Epic is a word that everyone seems to be tossing around lately. Actually, it's a word that's making a resurgence is more like it. Naturally, I feel the need to jump on the bandwagon and over-analyze this word. It's almost as popular as "like" as pointless as the word "seriously" as annoying as the word "whatever" and as misused as the word "literally".  The worst use of the word I stumbled upon was Epic Zen. This is as confusing as full contact egg carving. The origin of the word Epic dates back to the late 1500's from the Latin term epicus. In the definition, it is stated that the word means a long narrative poem. Figuratively though, it can mean any event or task of great magnitude, and that's where things get a little messy. The problem is that defining what constitutes something of "great magnitude" is up for debate. My silly little accomplishment might be another person's chef-d'oeuvre. For example, to someone who can't bake, the fancy Buche De Noel my sister made might seem pretty impressive, but would anyone really call it epic? No, epic traditionally was reserved for spectacular feats. Take a look at some of the chocolate sculptures in the world chocolate competitions, and then the little Buche no longer seems so epic.


This is chocolate!


At some point, Epic started to be translated into meaning impressive, and that's even harder to define. It used to be that the word was used sparingly to describe only very unusual or out of the ordinary occurrences.  "That was EPIC, maaann!" was a phrase that became popular about 10 years ago. It was used most often when some kid landed a sick skate move like the loop transfer at The King of Skate, but just like "awesome" and "radical", people started using it for everything from blog posts to toothpaste to the description of a date. Guy 1: "How was your evening, Fred?"
Guy 2: "Oh WOW!!! It was EPIC! Jenny and I went to Leaf and got some tofu."
(outrageous!) Um....no.

BTW,check out some of the way cool female skaters in a skate competition:





And some of the younger girls in this one:



I'll come out and say right here that my writing is not epic. How funny that I just finished a short story, which is indeed, the opposite of an epic. My laziness, on the other hand, has been quite epic. Actually, I did get a few more structured bike workout in last week. Still, I feel like I'm dragging quite a bit lately. I'm sure it's partly because being in the stinky air cast makes getting around and doing pretty much anything a drag. I haven't been outside in a month, really. I must look like Dracula.

I keep wanting to keep up with everyone's blogs and write some decent posts. Unfortunately, I'm not completely out of the funk yet. It's getting better, but I'm still not quite there. I wonder if I should be taking some extra vitamin D since I haven't seen the sun in forever. Hum.

OK, someone pointed out a picture of a girl eating a large hot dog that was impressive. It got me wondering, so I did a little research. I have to say that this hot dog is...well...epic.


Monday, December 19, 2011

Just for fun

The three best holiday songs EVAH!! Enjoy~~~ Oh yeah. 











Still alive

I can't say I'm doing much kicking, but I am alive on some level anyway.

This would be the perfect time to have a camera. Instead of posting (every time I try to type posting, I type posing instead. Weird too that every time I try to type soul, I type sould. I have no idea why.) Anyway, instead of posting a bunch of words, I could be posTing gross pictures of BOTH feet! That's right BOTH feet a fucked now. Oh yay. I'm past the totally depressed wallowing in self pity stage, because there's nothing I can do about it. I've settled uncomfortably into the indifferent stage. My car, my computer and my phone are all dying along with my feet. Actually, my computer is already dead. I'm borrowing one at the moment. It seems that with all the hardcore limping I have been doing, I may or may not have torn a muscle in my right foot. The left foot is sore too, of course. The doctor has been notified, and I have an appointment tomorrow. With everything going on, I have done pretty much shit lately. I have zero minus motivation.

I did get really excited reading about the possible discovery of the higgs boson particle. That has been the highlight of my existence in the last month or so. This discovery was found at CERN. Without the higgs boson, it is rather difficult to explain how other particles acquire mass. I was watching a cool video the other day that had an interesting way of explaining it. A higgs boson field, in theory, would allow other particles that usually travel at the speed of light to slow, and mass would be created. It's really more something that relates to weak interactions, but it's a good visual. I'm sure there will be more discoveries. It takes a long time to gather the massive amounts of data from the supercollider. God- it takes billions of trials to get just a small amount of usable data. It's crazy thrilling though.

"Simulated data- Higgs boson is produced and then decays into two jets of hadrons and two electrons. The lines represent the possible paths of particles produced by the proton-proton collision in the detector while the energy these particles deposit is shown in blue."


The other good thing is that I am down to 10 more days of this no chocolate hell. My cravings have not lessened, but I also haven't been good about avoiding talking about chocolate and looking at the gorgeous images on the Chocolate For Breakfast and Piece, Love and Chocolate websites.

Other than that, I have been in a baaad funk. I'm not working out much lately, and I think I'm just depressed. I HATE winter too. It just sucks to be cold. Uggh. Plus, getting around in the snow and driving on the ice is the pits. It's not easy to see everyone who is running well post about how well things are going. I'm truly glad for them, but it makes me sad that I can't be making my own goals as well. I'm so worried about my feet. Sigh.

I'm very fortunate that I can borrow a computer, as I just started working on a short story. The idea is that I can submit it to a new magazine. Actually, the deadline is approaching rather quickly, so I'm going to cut this short. Hopefully I can get back into the blogging spirit again soon.

Happy Solstice everyone! It's coming up on Thursday.

Ohh- my new band addiction in addition to Awolnation and Cage the Elephant (did I not tell you they would be big a few years back??) is Grouplove:


Some local DJ said that the band sounds like Nirvana. I'm like, dude, are you deaf? They sound like Modest Mouse, or even MGMT or early Cure if anything.
Check this one out, and you will hear it even more:

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Slipped

No, I didn't eat chocolate or fall on the ice. I've slipped into a funk is all. I'm depressed and tired. All I want to do is sleep. If I'm honest, I probably need a good cry. I know I do, but I don't even feel like making the effort, and it seems to be one of those times where starting will lead to a big mess of not being able to stop. In other words, there's a lot of buried shit I don't want to be digging up right now. Sometimes I need to wallow and be depressed, so if you're looking for butterflies and rainbows shooting out of a unicorn's ass, this is not the blog post to read right now.

I'm still reading this book about co-dependency, Codependent No More. It's making me feel kind of crummy about myself, especially after going around thinking I did the best I could in several situations, which I suppose I did. I guess awareness is good, but it never feels all that great to look at mistakes you've made and know that your best ended up being pretty shitty. Looking back is hard, especially when it's too late to do anything about it. I hate going through books or brochures and thinking my picture should be somewhere in there. On the other hand, "next time" which there hopefully won't be, I'll be more prepared, in theory anyway. I'm all for change and believe people can and do change all the time, but in terms of relationship or friendship issues, change can only occur if both parties are willing to make the effort and communicate. In instances where there's complete communication breakdown, it will never happen, obviously. The best one can do is to let it go, realize past mistakes and make sure to not repeat them. It is so much easier when communication isn't a problem, but even with open communication, relationships can be difficult. Sometimes expressing needs, especially for women, can be a challenge. We're not taught that it's OK to do, because who wants to be labeled as needy or demanding? Too often, we are mocked or put down for stating our needs or trying to set or create boundaries. For people who tend to have codependency issues, it's even more difficult, because we often don't even know what we are feeling and have a hard time putting our feelings into words. And when we don't deal with these feelings, they get repressed. That ends up hurting us in the end. Oh but we are good at reacting. More on that later.

This book has been great about pointing out all my flaws, which seems to be a theme lately. Still, I'm continuing to read it, because I need to face reality. I'm at a low point anyway, so it's sometimes a good place to look at changes that need to be made. The book focuses on other people's addiction, and with any addiction, it's easy to get lost and not know the "right" thing to do. People often confuse cause and effect in these cases. Many times before, I've explained how difficult it can be when the focus is on a reaction and not the action that caused it. Apparently, being there and "care-taking" isn't the way to solve anything though. This is a strange concept, because while it's just fine to care and take care of someone, it's not good to sacrifice yourself in the process and become a caretaker. It's a big mistake. I learned it from my mom, of course, watching her with my dad. There was this sense of duty that she had to be there and help and take care of...and then resent it like hell. But it's difficult to attempt to do the right thing, thinking that something good will be the result and have it backfire nearly every fucking time. That's where it all starts. And when things don't change, that's when a hard to stop and very unhealthy cycle gets put into motion. It seems so simple to let someone else be, allow them to fall, fail, stumble and possibly get hurt. Just mind your own business, right? Stop meddling, getting in the way and mostly just stop being there for once. The problem is when you care, it's very difficult to turn away. How do you turn your back on someone knowing the possible consequences? I know I held out hope that my dad would stop drinking until the day he died. He never did, but I still had hope. What I'm learning is that, in trying to control an out of control situation, you end up being the one controlled. What a twister, eh? But letting go is not easy. Shifting focus back on yourself after placing it in all the wrong places takes work.

One of many great quotes in the book I'm reading is this one by Thomas Wright: " I suspect codependents have historically attacked social injustice and fought for the rights of the underdog. Codependents want to help. I suspect they have helped. But they probably died thinking they didn't do enough and were feeling guilty."

But is what we do really helping? I suggested it before but it is stated so well in the book that codependency at its core is primarily reacting to and being affected by someone or some situation outside yourself. That doesn't mean you can pass the blame. Getting away from the need to rescue and be a caretaker can be difficult, especially when feelings are involved. For men, the knight in shining armor syndrome is common, and for women, well, we're just good at putting our needs 2nd while we tend to others. We look at the potential of someone and tend to avoid the reality of who they are. In stepping in to take care of someone, we are clearly stating that we don't think the other person is able or willing to take care of themselves or change. We allow them to be the victim. Can you love this person exactly as he or she is with no "but ifs"? It goes both ways too. I've been told I have some nice qualities, but it's likely the negative outweighs the good. It's good to know that it's fine to help when someone is down and needs some extra care. All healthy relationships and friendships have some give and take. That's normal. Rescuing and caretaking have a different flavor. Oddly enough, those who rescue can easily slip into wanting to be rescued too, as uncomfortable as we tend to be in that role. It gets tiring attempting to be a super-hero who fails and fails and keeps right on failing. I think sometimes when you're thrown into a situation you never ever thought you would face, it's impossible to predict how you will (re)act. We all want to feel loved, heard, respected and acknowledged and we also want to be able to provide that for someone else.

Too often, misunderstandings occur when we assume what the other person is thinking or make assumptions about a person's actions. Much of it comes back to communication. One of the biggest mistakes I made when I was young was assuming that my dad could control his drinking-that if he loved me enough and wanted to he would stop. Now, deep down I know this is far from the truth, a ridiculous idea. It was impossible to not be affected when he drank though, especially when he said and did really awful things. Ultimately, it's not easy or maybe even possible to develop any kind of trust when someone says one thing and does the opposite. Every time my dad promised he wouldn't drink and did anyway, it was a let down. Over time, forgiveness, especially when apologies eventually stopped, became more difficult. Forgive and forget leaves us too vulnerable and at risk for getting hurt again. And then we heap the guilt on for not being able to keep forgiving, but we tend to keep on loving. These are habits though- ones that can eventually be broken. It all starts with awareness, and sometimes in the throes of chaos, awareness isn't easy to have. Sometimes it only comes once the dust has settled.

I bring these things up, because they relate to eating disorders. Often those who can't express how they feel and continually step into a role of a caretaker are susceptible to falling into disordered eating patterns. The more we can be aware of patterns in our lives that contribute to feelings of low self-worth and excessive guilt, the more we can work on changing them. It doesn't feel good to be in a position of doing what you think is right when the outcome is anything but. They key is to keep moving forward after addressing what habits don't work.

I haven't been working out much. Between the awful cold going into the surgery, the depression and the surgery itself, I have lost motivation. The cast makes biking difficult and is very uncomfortable. I'm mostly just trying to get through the days. I'm sleeping an absurd amount, but I feel like I need it.

Uggh-the news is hard to watch today.

I need another nap. It has been a really, really rough week.

I heard there was some big issue with the water in the Vegas R&R marathon. Yikes. My friend ran the stiletto race inside, but that was unrelated.

Monday, December 5, 2011

4 Days?

Where the hell did they go? 


I went into the surgery sick. The doctor gave me a little shot of some antibiotic before the procedure. I can't believe I've been hobbling around for 4 days now though. Tomorrow is my apt to get the cast. I guess I still haven't felt like working out, because I'm all drugged up and not quite over whatever illness I had. In fact, I coughed up something unnatural this afternoon. That's probably not good. On the other hand, in the "TMI encore" department, I finally pooped. Gah- painkillers just stop me up like crazy. What a relief to have something bigger than a rabbit pellet come out of me today. I hadn't gone since the operation, so it was cause for celebration. My fever is down though, so it's likely that I'm on the mend. in a way it's good, because I am taking advantage of having the time and the lack of energy to stay in bed most of the time.  


I'm watching a very uncomfortable episode of the real housewives. One of the ladies has an eating disorder, and there is so much drama every time she is in a scene. Everyone is yelling and crying. It's interesting to see how people respond in this kind of chaos. I guess I'm like anyone else and try to image how I would react, what the best way to react would be and then try to analyze the psychology behind it all. But it's hurting my head to watch. I might have to turn it off. blah. 


I start back to work either Wed or Friday. Since it's like 2 degrees, I actually don't feel that terrible about being stuck inside. I might have mentioned that already. 


This is a short little post. It has been a strange day. 


It looks like Taylor, the one with the issues on the show, has a book coming out next year that deals with her abusive relationship and other aspects of her life. I found this little bit of information on the soon to be published book:  "Hiding from Reality: My Story of Love, Loss, and Finding the Courage Within" will be published by Gallery Books of Simon & Schuster and is scheduled for release on Feb. 7, 2012.
In 2009, Stephen Colbert sponsored the US speed skating team, after their biggest sponsor went bankrupt. I wonder if he would help me with my book getting published somehow. That would be an interesting way to approach things.

I just received a wonderful gift that totally made my day. It included some foot repair cream (lol) which is awesome, two rolling stone magazines, some adorable healing socks and a few other cute little items for the holidays. It was just so perfect! So I'm going to bed in a good mood, and it's not just the Percocet talking. A more coherent post should be on the way soon.

This is probably one of the most disjointed posts I have written, but I'm going to leave it as a reminder of what my brain on painkillers is like.  heh.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Blog rules

This should be an interesting or possibly incoherent blog post in my pain-filled and drugged-out state.I probably shouldn't be writing blog posts in this state, but oh well.

It's almost unfortunate that anyone can create a blog. Sure, everyone gets their 15 minutes of so called fame*, and there's a blog for every topic imaginable. Still, so much hate and shit is flung these days, that I almost wish the terms of service had stricter content policies than the one here: http://www.blogger.com/content.g (A summary of the general terms is summed up nicely here: http://www.wikisummaries.org/Blogger_Terms_of_Service) Then again, I'm definitely one for free speech. I have never violated any terms of service in writing a blog post, but I'm sure there are people who do, and probably some do so without even knowing it. Still, it would take some serious crossing of lines in order to do something that would warrant a flagging of someone's blog. Both the sometimes sad and other times great thing, depending on which end you're on-the giving or receiving, is that people can rip on others outright or subtly with no consequences at all. I used to read a blog by a woman who was a great writer, but she often went into detail about what a jerk her ex was. I suppose it's not so horrible. She was hurt and trying to process, only she used his real name, which ended up making me feel uncomfortable, despite the fact that he cheated on her and did sound like a jerk. I know, I know-that's one side of the story. She never lied or was harassing, so I doubt he could have done anything or stopped her. After reading more about all these blog policies and agreements, I have discovered that, from what I can gather, you can't stop someone from taking about you, unless it falls into something more extreme like harassment, hate speech or defamation.

Man, I felt crummy enough for posting more intimate details of my life even when my blog was anonymous and all the players were kept secret. I've also probably shared too much in more subtle ways in order to process things. However, I can't imagine publicly bashing someone using a full name and an exact situation in my blog, unless, of course, it's a public figure who did something really heinous, like molesting children or something. Then again, I have poked fun at certain types of blogs in a general way. Maybe that's not so nice either. The thing is that policies and agreements are rarely enforced, even when real names are used. I found it nearly impossible to contact anyone at blogger, so I would imagine that the infraction would have to be pretty extreme to get any attention from the blogger staff. Blogger now has it so that you have to go to these forums to get your questions answered. For me, I often blog in order to better understand and get through things, especially when communication breaks down. I almost never write a blog post about the relationships that go well, obviously. I don't think many people do. I assume most people are in the same boat-trying to examine issues in life.

Why go into all of this? Because I have been thinking quite a bit lately about whether or not I want to be a part of the blogging world anymore. I've worked probably 6 years on my manuscript. While it's far from where it could be, it's pretty close to where I want it to be. There are things I both love and hate about blogging. I know I won't give it up, because there's the potential that what I have written might eventually help someone, but at times I'm tempted to call the whole thing off. There are periods in my life that crop up and require that I duck and cover. Sometimes it's too difficult to be bombarded with everything online.

My head is floating in a cloud of a Percocet induced fog. Unfortunately, my foot is still killing me today. Uggh. This is a painful one. I might do a face-plant onto the keyboard here, as these pain-killers make me ultra sleepy. I might have to reread this when I'm "sober" to see if any of it is making sense.

The real reason why I'm creating a blog post today is to let everyone know that I'm reading a book called Codependent no more. Uggh crap. I can't even keep my eyes open while typing. A blog post in 20 parts? Sigh. more later...

Ok, I'm back. I'll just add a few things before I fall into a motionless lump on the bed.

I have known for a long time that I am co-dependent. I haven't yet figured out how not to be, but I'm starting to get some clues. That and I'm more able to figure out why I am this way. It's really quite simple as far as the getting there equation goes, and I have attempted to say it here before when discussing my dad and my past, which is when it all started. With addiction, big hairy shit goes down over which you have no control. You become the addict's caretaker, so emotions are stuffed down in order to take care of the this person or these people, or you just begin to disassociate from all the constant chaos. My mom did this with my dad, we all did, and boy did the resentment build. It's like she slid into his issues, and could no longer have her own life. It's not blaming the addict at all. That's not what I mean to do- it sort of automatically happens in these situations, unless you're somehow incredibly grounded and aware and able to deal with the unexpected in ways that most people can't. It becomes nearly impossible to trust, express emotions and feelings and address things in a calm rational manner. Everything feels unpredictable. When I got to the front door when I got home from school when I was in grade school, I often wondered what might be on the other side of that door. What crazy situation was I going to face, or would I find a rare moment of calm once I opened it? Then there was the next day or week, when we were all shell-shocked after things had occurred, trying to come to terms with whatever weirdness had happened, and my dad would act as if it was nothing at all.

One part in the book I'm reading suggested that the addict experiences these exaggerated episodes in a numbed out state, while the other person has to experience them fully present. The problem is that the other person doesn't get to express the anger, hurt, fear, disappointment or whatever other emotion comes to the surface at the time. And the addict may not even remember incidents that so thoroughly affect the other person. This happened with my mom. There's no discussing feelings when the shit is hitting the fan, and working on communication, trust and other *normal* issues would be like dusting the house before a hurricane hits - what's the point? When trust is lost, it's a very, very difficult thing to get back. Who wants to open up and be vulnerable when there's so much risk involved? On the other hand, who wants to lose the ability to be vulnerable completely? That's no good. The one big thing that I'm learning in reading this book is that I need work. I've known for a long time that I tend to be co-dependent, but I didn't know exactly what that meant, only that I have this odd sense of guilt and concern for others so much so that I will often let my own life slide while trying to be of use in a situation where it's impossible to be useful. Then the odd thing is that I resent the fact that I've done so, felt responsible, taken on too much and cleaned up the mess without taking care of my needs. Communication is hard though. I think it always goes better after the fact, away from the computer and only when things have calmed down. I think there might be times when even then it doesn't work, but when you haven't learned to communicate, it's difficult to start. It does help to do it in a setting that feels safe though. Bringing up emotions and feelings won't work well if anyone is feeling worried or overly vulnerable or scared.

Blah. I'm feeling a wee bit queasy and the foot is hurting again. Poo. I'll have to figure out if this makes sense later and elaborate another time. Waa. I'm hurting in many ways today. The one good thing is that it's cold and snowy outside, so I don't feel quite as bad being stuck inside. I mean, it is freezing out there! I guess the antibiotic I was given before the operation helped me conquer this cough/flu. Either that or I'm sleeping so much that I don't notice it.



*As far as Andy Warhol quotes, his declaration that everyone will have their 15 minutes of fame thing might be the most recognized, but it's not my favorite. This one is an odd one, but it always makes me wonder: "Fantasy love is much better than reality love. Never doing it is very exciting. The most exciting attractions are between two opposites that never meet." I can't say I agree with that, though there is something to anticipation and imagination when it comes to lovers. Also, this one is sometimes associated with Andy Warhol, but he only made it famous. It's probably the one I like best of his.The original quote was by Shakespeare: "Being born is like being kidnapped. And then sold into slavery."


Monday, November 28, 2011

Why don't you smile?



I have mentioned this before, but I really hate when a guy tells me to smile or that I should smile more. I find it unquestionably bizarre that a stranger or even someone I know would feel the need to tell me to change my behavior or attempt to alter my emotions to please him. I can't imagine saying this to anyone, no matter what the circumstance. There's a subtle difference in telling a woman who is already smiling that she looks pretty when she does, though, for whatever reason, this can make me feel uncomfortable too. What happens when someone insists that a woman smile when she's not in the mood is that the woman's feeling and emotions are denied. Sure, when a woman smiles it's a pretty sight for the viewer, but what does that do for her underlying feelings?

This would be better if she were smiling


I generally have to put on a happy face at work. Things go more smoothly if I do, but I'm also pretty happy at work. It's not that much of an effort to smile when you're in a situation that is enjoyable or confortable. Women who don't make the effort to smile most of the time are often considered bitches. Forget any reasons WHY they might refrain from smiling.

On that note, let's look at a few reasons why a woman might  frown:

1. Setting boundaries.
Frowning basically tells another person, "Stay the fuck away!"

2. Outer expressions
When words fail, a frown says, "I'm pissed off" for you.

3. Fear
Being unable to control a situation can lead to frowning. The feeling of frustration is sometimes hard to verbalize, so a frown is a good substitute.

4. Toughness/intimidation
It has been discovered that women who frown at work get paid more. Apparently in certain situations you really can catch more of certain things without the honey. Of course, it might also lead someone to punch you in the face.

5. Disapproval
Sometimes a frown is a reaction to something stinky. It can also occur when disapproval or disgust is expressed.

6. Fatigue
There's some saying about how it takes more energy to frown and it uses more muscles than smiling. Fuck that. If I'm tired, smiling is an effort and sometimes a HUGE one.

7. Define frown
People often confuse not smiling with frowning. There is a difference.


I would say in my case that the unusually large crevasse in my forehead from frowning began when I was quite young and very unhappy with my life. It got deeper during my running years when I was under too much pressure to race well. Now that it's well established, it has become a part of who I am. I definitely notice that the more relaxed and at ease I am, the less I frown, but when things around me are shitty, it's my go-to response. My brows contract almost instantly when I feel like I can't express what I want too. There are a few situations and places where I never really feel the urge to frown. I'm always glad to have those.

For whatever reason, my meeting with one publisher fell through. As upset as I am, it wasn't something I was counting on for several reasons. I had a feeling it might not work out, so there's not a whole lot I can do about it. It's possible it might work out down the road, so all I can do is keep hoping.

Lately, I've been so disappointed by people and situations that things like this and getting sick a few days before the surgery are just more things to add to the pile. I'd like to say that I don't care, because saying that beings some sort of strange relief. However, these things I do care about. Really it's more of an acceptance that I can't change any of it, and whatever the causes, it's out of my hands.

This is somewhat unrelated, but you know how it is when you go visit your grade school? That feeling of, "Oh wow- what was all the fuss about?" I sort of have that now. I can't go into detail, but it's just a vague feeling I can't shake. When I was a kid, school was such a BIG deal. Everything seemed so oversized and scary but there was so much potential. Going back is like, "meh, these desks are super tiny." Nuff said. When something loses its flavor, I guess there's no getting it back. I have that feeling right now. Fortunately, some other doors have opened and I have other things to occupy my attention. In theory anyway, as I have been sitting way too far outside myself lately. This means my attention is misdirected and focused on the wrong things. I've gone to bed with thoughts racing and end up feeling unrested when I wake after short bouts of sleep.

A slow run made me realize how depressed I am about facing surgery. I'm hoping this time will be a tad easier. Last time I was heading into surgery after having already taken 4 weeks off with the stress fracture. I have noticed that it is getting worse. I haven't done any timed events as a result. I do hard workouts to what my foot can tolerate and use the bike to finish up if I need.

Argh. I have too much to do today and have put off doing it. I better move ~~ M o v e. Yeah.




Thursday, November 24, 2011

No Turkey

I was watching American Horror Story last night, my new TV addiction. I love the show. I can't even explain all the reasons why I do, but it was the same things with Nip Tuck. Actually, both shows were created by the same power duo (Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk) as Glee, so they have that in common. There's a draw of good acting, unexpected turns, a bit of horror and even a little cheese factor going on that's highly appealing. Anyway, in the episode last night, one of the main characters is seeing things. Despite her daughter knowing the truth that her mom is really seeing ghosts that she sees too, the young girl doesn't stand by her mom, and nearly everyone, especially the woman's husband, starts to think this lady is crazy or well on her way. I'll skip the bag of worms regarding the daughter choosing her bad-boy lover over her mother for now. Interestingly enough, the mother is well aware that she's not actually crazy, only she has moments of doubt given all the shit going on around her. A Gaslight reference makes the scene complete, as everyone in the audience realizes how easy it is for anyone to accuse a woman of being crazy, no matter what the circumstances. In the words of Oscar Wilde, "Women are made to be loved, not understood." Right? Fuck that. If you don't understand a woman, you're probably not trying hard enough. The idea is that the woman is always at fault, no matter what goes down. She's crazy after all! They all are!

When I had an issue with a relative once, I was shocked when the police officer asked what I did to make him shove me. Actually, I was more than shocked. I was disappointed, offended and appalled that this was happening in Boulder, of all places. I finally understood more completely all those women's studies classes I had taken in college. I will never understand that kind of response though.

It was refreshing when not long ago I went out with a guy who, when asked what happened in his last relationship, didn't respond with the typical, "She's crazy." So often crazy is how guys describe their ex, but it's always a two way street. For every crazy girl, there's a/an_______ boy at the other end. You fill in the blank. I don't care to right now. It does seem that nine out of 10 times, a guy will cite craziness as the reason a relationship ended. I'm always glad when I hear a few people say that they parted on pleasant terms and are still friends. Fortunately I'm friends with most of the guys I have dated. Unfortunately, I think one or two of them might call me crazy. Even though it's in a joking way, it's still kind of pisses me off deep down. At least one of them jokes about it being OK, because he's an asshole. He's really not, but it's funny that he calls himself one. I guess it makes me feel a little better about the crazy remark.

In AskMen.com's list of "Mistakes women make" there are things that both sexes do. In fact, I would say that going back to "bad" significant others definitely applies to both sexes. I had a friend who had this problem. He's too nice, and people took advantage-that type deal. It's not just about women. I've met as many men as women who go back to unhealthy situations. We're human. There is no perfect, and there are many reasons why someone is drawn to another person. Freaking out about casual sex also goes both ways. Just as often, a guy ends up wanting more or ends up not being able to handle the situation. Why it is that AskMen.com feels it's only women who do this is a mystery. The rest were the same- jealousy, making assumptions etc. all stuff that people in general, not just women do, but it's weird how society accepts this. I love posting this video, because it shows why we are so accepting of putting women down. Most of the time we are so used to it that we no longer even recognize that it's happening all around us. We are bombarded by these message all the time.







All this aside, I've had a strange day today. I learned some things that didn't sit well with me. At the same time, I realized that true friends and family are hugely important in my life, not that I didn't recognize that before. Duh. It's more that it becomes more evident in certain situations. Considering it's Thanksgiving, I have to say that I'm incredibly grateful for the people in my life, past and present, who are and have been so supportive.  In the past few years, I haven't done much Thanksgiving related stuff. In fact, a friend of mine and I used to rent movies and get sushi. At the time, we both felt that the holiday was an anorexic's nightmare. Now it's more like any other day, only I like to enjoy not having to work and generally give thanks for various things.

A week from tomorrow I have my 2nd foot surgery. I haven't been able to run like I want, but I'm glad I can still get outside in this unseasonably warm and mild weather. Today I ran with a friend, something I haven't done in what feels like a long time. It made me realize that I need to do it more. It ended up being a good day. I've also been in communication with a local publisher. After I met him randomly at Alfalfa's Market not long ago, we have been discussing my manuscript. I should know more soon. Stay tuned!



                                     

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Macarons

Chocolate macarons!



Macarons - not to be confused with macaroons, the chewy coconut cookie that has a texture that's almost like a cake - are confections made from egg whites, sugar, ground almonds, flavorings and food color. It's a recipe that has to be followed fairly diligently or the shape and texture will be unsatisfactory. Some recipes call for cooked italian meringue, but most traditional recipes use cold meringue. Either way, the focus is on achieving a crunchy shell that gives way to a more moist bottom layer. A "foot" around the bottom edge is essential. Many things can prevent this frilly part from forming, so it's tricky to get it right. Without the foot or pied, it's not a true macaron. Though there is some controversy over the origins of the sweet treat, it has generally been accepted that the French made it famous. The first macarons were made without any fancy flavors or colorings. In the 1900's Pierre Desfontaines of the famous Laudree pastry shop in Paris upgraded the macaron to what it is today. He added a cream filling between two of the meringue cookies.

Since I have given up chocolate, I have been looking for other treats to keep my sweet tooth from screaming out in anguish. I've tried yogurt and carob covered fruits and nuts, but none are quite the same as a good dose of chocolate. When a lady I know mentioned that she was starting a new business selling macarons, I knew I had to give them a try. There are some websites that are more fun than others. For example, I've always loved DeBrand's website, because it's interactive. You can actually virtually take a bite of the chocolates to see what's inside! The website for Mageline's Confiserie is beautifully done with lots of intriguing images and a nice sampling of the products available. I ordered a box and was thrilled when an elegant package similar to the one below arrived with a thank you note enclosed:


Box of macarons from Mageline's Confiserie



Marci card!

Once past the delightful packaging, I noticed how appealing the macarons are. The colors are festive and even, and they are well formed. The smooth, light and crunchy shell that surrounds a soft, slightly chewy, cookie-like almond-flavored layer is not too thick and allows you to bite easily into the macaron to reach the creamy filling in the middle. The three layers are superbly balanced with the cream filling providing a nice smooth texture in contrast to the more crunchy and chewy outer layers. There was just enough filling for these to be creamy without getting close to mushy. Living in Boulder, I'm not accustomed to very sweet things. Everything here is sweetened extra lightly with agave, stevia, honey or fruit juice, so having real sugar, which is essential in making macarons, was a bit of an indulgence. Still, the flavors, while subtle, grew on my palate and lingered nicely. The near perfect texture of these treats made me crave more. They are quite addicting!

These little gems would make ideal gifts. I highly recommend them. I will definitely order again and think that these served at special occasions would be an excellent idea. I can't wait until I can have chocolate again, because I can only imagine how delicious the chocolate flavors are!

Macarons from Mageline's Confiserie

http://www.magelinesconfiserie.com/

Friday, November 18, 2011

Down time

I Think Sue Ann is right about this!



I'm not blogging much lately. Actually, I'm not doing much online, except mostly work related stuff. Sometimes I need a break from everything, and the time away has allowed me to get a better sense of who I am. I'm still searching, but I'm a bit less lost than I was. The last few weeks have been pretty dark. Facing another surgery has put me in a sad mood. However, this week I returned to the things I love, and I'm feeling better about everything. Everything changed on Thursday when I got absorbed with my volunteer job at the Humane Society. That was the start of things feeling a little better in my world. After that, I went for a pre-op apt, and my doctor was really fucking awesome. He made me feel so much better about everything. So many people assumed I had done too much too soon, but this is really a structural thing. The doc is convinced that either this surgery or, if needed down the road, fusing the bone will allow me to get back to training and racing again. The real turning point in my mood shift was when I spent some time at the local radio station where I volunteer. I guess I feel more in my element there. Nobody judges me or criticizes me in any way. It's just a very safe, very fun place to be, and I always feel better after some time there. I had one last mood lifter for the day when I attended a little party hosted by In Step for the distribution of the women's master's team uniforms. I bought a singlet, just to keep me inspired through all the biking to come.

What was so nice about being at the party, aside from all the free goodies everyone kept handing me, was being around old friends and competitors. I realized that we all struggle with injuries and illnesses. So many of us have come back from some pretty severe surgeries and injuries. It was an honor to be among some super tough ladies. I really hope that I can sport the jersey next year when I step back into running. It's great to be a part of such a supportive bunch of women.

My surgery will be on Dec 2nd. Until then, I'm really trying to get through the days the best I can. I'm still helping my mom as much as possible. I generally stop over twice a day now that I'm not staying with her full time. She's doing really well, all things considered. The nurses told us it will be about six months before she is completely back on her feet. Like all of us in the family, she thinks she *should* be doing more than she is.

This is starting to read like a dull diary entry. I'll shift gears and say that I met Sue Ann Gleason, creator of Chocolate for Breakfast. She stopped in my place of work to say hello. I bought her a few samples of some chocolates I find interesting including some Life Opening Chocolates, Chocolove (it's local and the dark chocolate cherry bar is yummmmmm) and a Theo Bread Chocolate bar. The bread bar is reminiscent of Pain au Chocolat. I borrowed Sue Ann's image, as it is the best Pain au Chocolat image I have seen. It makes me drool. It's so perfectly puffy!

I'm about half way through the three months of no chocolate ordeal. My cravings would probably be lessening if I wouldn't look longingly at the Chocolate for Breakfast website so often. I can't stay away though! Actually, I could. It's amazing how I keep telling myself I can do this or that, because, hell, if I can give up chocolate, I can do almost anything. I guess in this case I choose not to resist the temptation to look at the chocolate images.

Theo Bread & Chocolate bar




Pain au Chocolat



That's all for now. I am feeling very lucky tonight. The more I get out of my head and back into being, the less worried I am. I'll get through this. I know how hard it will be, having gone through it once before, but I'll come out the other end one way or another. I'll be in a cast too, so there's no risk of getting stuck in the shower or anything like last time, though I suppose, knowing me, I could accidentally discover some new and creative way to get stuck. But if all goes well, I'll be wearing that In Step singlet in a race or two this summer.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Overabundance of emotions

The last month or so I've been in a swarm of emotional turmoil. Mostly I have felt numb and like I don't want to do anything. It's the depression squeezing me in its ugly grip. I know that. Today I finally feel something. I knew it was coming, but it took facing another surgery on my foot to bring it to the surface. I've been faced with too much stress, loads of conflict and not enough support to manage well lately. Though I have had some tremendous support, it's just not enough or the right kind or for the right thing. Mostly I have isolated myself and kept what I'm going through under wraps. After I got home from the Dr. I felt the kind of sadness that physically hurts- my throat tightened up and I felt that if I cried, I'd never stop. I'm tired.

It's no wonder that this blog post hit me on such a deep level today. There are some profound messages in there, no doubt.

When I was four years old, I wanted to kill myself. I've been hanging in there ever since. I have to admit that the last 10 years have been better than all those years I struggled through when I was younger, but I still hit some rocky patches. I know there are plenty of others struggling out there too, so I'm in no way trying to make it seem like I've had it worse than anyone else. I don't believe that. I do think that I'm sometimes too sensitive for this world. That's why I selectively stick my nose into the world and then feel the need to retreat.

My thoughts are swirling too much to go into more detail, so I will shift gears and remind everyone that tomorrow SmithKlein Gallery will be hosting an awareness night for Boulder Youth Body Alliance. The info can be found here: BYBA Night Nov 11th 6-8PM.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Time

There's a lady who has all the good intentions in the world who tells me I have gained weight every time I see her. I mean EVERY fucking time she says it. I think she must mean well, but it always makes me feel like I've swallowed a rock as my stomach sinks and my head spins. I never know how to respond. I might start saying something like, "Oh yeah! I've put on 25 pounds by eating a few tubs of mayo with every meal and snickers bars for dessert." I don't know if I have gained weight since she last saw me, but I don't want to think about it. Blah. 


This next part is unrelated, but it has been on my mind quite a bit lately. 


I once read an odd book about time. In this book was one of the best analogies about senses I have ever come across in literature. It referred to humans and our limited ability to perceive as being like a spider in a web who can only sense the web. There's a whole world beyond the web, but the spider is confined only to that web. His world is that web, though he has some slight sense of the world beyond it. The web is attached to a tree maybe or created in some bushes, but the web is where he spends most of his time. 


Can you imagine how overstimulating it would be if we could sense everything to a higher degree than we do- see all of the color spectrum, hear all the different frequencies and smell with the accuracy and intensity of a macrosomatic animal? It would be overwhelming. Time is something different though. Though some believe that time is an illusion, we all still have a vague sense of time. Our sense of time varies too. I hesitate to say it's all relative, because that tends to make people think I'm referring to the relativistic interpretation of time brought to everyone's attention by Einstein. I'm not talking about physical time here and don't have a lot to say about the differences between Newtonian time or constant time and the special theory of relativity. That might get too complicated. I'm focused more on that odd sensation that time drags when you're not having fun. 


Everyone has had those runs or even moments in an interval or race where a minute feels like 10...or 20..or an eternity. In my case, they usually occur when I'm tired, hurting of feeling off in some way. This occurs at work sometimes too when that last hour drags on forEVER! (There's also this odd 5 minute rule where, no matter what closing time is, people will flock in the doors 5 minutes before closing time.) In order to get through these sluggish moments, I often disassociate. In contrast, there are these wonderful moments that fly by too quickly. These generally happen when I'm in the moment, enjoying myself and not wanting the experience to end. What my mom and I found though is that there's a third time called hospital time. It's much harder to define, because it seems to combine both the time flies theory and the opposite into a mess of Alison in Wonderland type experiences. In other words, time drags by in the moment, but flies over the days. I think it's mostly related to the pain killers. After a shot of Dilaudid, time just whizzes by in a rush of comfort, but as the effects of the drug begin to wear off,  time s  l   o   w       s    d        o        w                         n. 


Hum. I don't know where I was going with this. I have used some of these concepts in a novel I started a few years back. I'm thinking I need to start working on that again. 


I took a few days off the foot and biked.The Dr. gave me the OK to go for a test run today. I can tell that the cortisone didn't help the joint pain, but I should be able to control that fairly well with inserts. It will be interesting to see how the nerve and muscle spasm stuff respond. I'm kind of nervous! AAK! 


What I really wanted to focus on was a comment that someone said that worried me. It was a friend of a friend type thing, so I hope I got the details right. Something similar was said to me, so I know it's not an isolated thought. I'm sure others have has a taste of this kind of thing as well. It has to do with someone reaching out and saying he might be a little bit bulimic. Of course, anyone who has studied addiction will tell you that there's no such thing as being "a little bit" addicted to anything. It's the one time when black and white thinking is accurate. Just like with being pregnant, it's either you are or you aren't, so when someone says something like this, I assume it's because they want help but are afraid to admit that it's a problem or are afraid to change or think that they have more control over it than they do. 


Because I have lived with addiction and know what it's like to be at rock bottom, I also know what it's like to be somewhere in between- not down in it and not anywhere close to healthy. It's an easy place to get stuck. You're not sick but you're not well-to slightly alter some lyrics here. It's easy to dupe yourself into thinking that throwing up or starving or over-training a few times a week is OK, because so-and-so does it daily and this person or that person does it multiple times a day. It's foolish to think that way, but it soothes the conflict of both wanting to be better and wanting to stay sick. Staying sick always serves some need in us. There's a reason why so many people are addicted to one thing or another, living in limbo. The key is to define what it is that keeps us sick. What reward do we get out of staying sick? Is it not taking responsibility? Is it avoiding pain, sorrow or the past? There is always an answer to this question, because addiction, while causing misery, still has a draw strong enough to keep people from escaping it. 


Usually when someone voices some concern about being a little bit bulimic or only binge drinking on the weekends, they are searching for a reaction, something to give them a clue about how others will react to what they are doing, because while they may not be ready to stop, they are either looking for someone to agree that it's no big deal or someone to tell them-give them permission- to stop. Deep down they know it's not healthy, but they need some kind of outside confirmation. If they get overly defensive with a response that solidifies their fears that they really are heading down the wrong path, chances are they are in denial. This happens quite a lot with anorexics who will ask advice but then not take it. We're a stubborn bunch. I still catch myself on this one. 


Wow. I'm totally rambling. I'll have to finish these thoughts another time. 


I want to let everyone know that SmithKlein Gallery on the Pearl Street Mall will be hosting an awareness night for Boulder Youth Body Alliance this Friday evening from 6-8PM, so stop by to learn more about this fantastic group! 










"BYBA was founded in 2004 by Carmen Cool, MA, LPC after meeting a group of passionate high school youth who wanted to do something about the issue of eating problems and body dissatisfaction in their school. These teens, many of whom had personally struggled with their own body image or eating disorder, felt helpless as they watched their peers engage in unhealthy behaviors to drop a dress size before prom, and angry at how pervasive negative self-talk is in their school. After years of working as a therapist with eating issues and body image concerns, along with the untimely death of her sister to anorexia, Carmen longed to create a place where youth could support each other. Instead of trying to change their bodies to meet externally imposed standards of beauty, she helped youth to engage in activities that build self-esteem.
Since then BYBA has directly trained more than one hundred high school students as leaders, to enhance their own body esteem and self-acceptance, and to support their peers. They, in turn, have provided education to nearly 7,000 students, teachers and members of their communities."

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Anyone up for a quickie?

I just got back from the podiatrist. It has been a crazy day, and it's not over yet. What concerns me more is tomorrow, when things slow down, and I'm supposed to stay off my foot. Yikes! I had to ask if I could bike, and was relieved when the doc said that biking was completely fine, just no pounding on it. I think I will take three days off it, just to be safe. Apparently, there is the trapped nerve, but there's also a muscle that's in spasm. It was weird, because he could actually feel it. It's sort of a ball that kind of snaps when anyone runs their hands over it, not that I have many people rubbing their hands on my feet or anything. Man, the foot is a complicated appendage. I got two shots of cortisone, and if all goes well, that will be it. If not, we will try one more round to see what happens. Hopefully though, this is the end of the pain! I'm supposed to massage it and keep a heating pad on it, which is way better than ice for me.

So, things feel a little more hopeful in my life again. After that race, I was feeling horribly blue at the thought of not being able to train all that hard with the pain. I am so relieved that there are some options. now to be patient.

October was about the shittiest month I have had in forever, so as much as I hate winter, I'm glad it's November. It's funny (but not in that haha way) that as I was in the shower thinking about all the pain I have had in my life and what's up with that, I took a huge chunk out of my ankle while shaving. Embarrassing. Blood was everywhere. You'd think I hacked a body to pieces in the bathroom, but it was just a nick. Well, it was a big one, but it's not like I cut my foot off or anything. Three band-aids later and all was fine.

I was finally able to get back into a routine again too. I missed two rounds of volunteering at the Humane Society of Boulder, with all that has been going on lately. I was stoked to be there today, because I got all the fun jobs- writing and decorating thank you cards to kids who donated money, packaging gifts for employees who have gone above and beyond the call of duty and mailing a stack of thank you letters. This was much better than the usual data entry, which I totally don't mind. It's just that the other stuff is so much fun. Plus, it's adorable to see some of the ways kids raise money for the cause. For example, in the past one girl made "duck" tape wallets to sell at her school. I'm sure she meant duct tape, but I like that she used duck tape. The ones I made cards for today had people donate to the Humane Society instead of getting birthday gifts.

I have a meeting with a publisher later in November, and I sent my agent the new manuscript and proposal. I never completed the full editing, but it's still much more polished and complete than it was. I'm hoping someone will take a chance. What a random encounter when I ran into this publisher at Alfalfa's. I often go to Whole Foods for dinner on Sunday, but some shit was hitting a fan somewhere that caused me to be extra short on time. I was thrilled to find a ficelle waiting for me there. I split it into three sections, and ate one there with my dinner. Mmmm crust! As I was finishing up, I noticed a guy next to me talking to another gentleman who had a book that looked familiar. I realized it was the book on the front page of the website a friend sent me to in order to get in touch with this local publisher. I somewhat rudely (but hopefully not obnoxiously) stuck my nose into the conversation, and was quite glad that neither one seemed upset about it. Long story short- the guy with the book was the publisher I had emailed earlier! He asked me about my manuscript, and then said he wanted to take a look. We set a date to meet in person, and I emailed him the proposal, the foreword by Lorraine Moller and some sample chapters. he knows some people at Runner's World too, so if he can't take it on, he might be able to point me in the right direction. So Cool!!!

Ooo- I have to run. So much more to do today. Wah- and I feel like sitting and doing nothing. I'm so glad I can be around to help my mom now that she is out of the hospital. Everything is so much better now that she is on the mend. That means I need to dash though. More later...

Sunday, October 30, 2011

A case of the blahs

I've been avoiding posting here, because I feel like I'm in a negative mood lately. It's true that the shit has been hitting the fan more than usual in my life, but I also can't seem to shake this slight "I'm overwhelmed so I don't give a fuck" attitude. Paralysis has been nipping at my heels the last few weeks, so what do I do? Go out an run a 10K, because that makes a ton of sense. Now I feel defeated and overwhelmed! Yay me.

I've tried to look at the positives in this race attempt. I went into it  not knowing if my foot was OK enough to actually race. A bad shoe purchase made my foot extra sore. That was a mistake. The idea in my head for the race was that I would use the 10K as a tempo run, which I pretty much did. After the fact, I'm suddenly on my own back for not actually racing the thing. It's a weird feeling, but I didn't even know if I could race a 10K. There were times in the race where I felt completely overwhelmed. Even the nice long hills, which I usually love, seemed daunting, especially with the overly vocal guy screaming out various complaints the entire way. "LEGS, HAMSTRINGS, GAAH, THIS HURTS, UGGH!!" I was overly angry with having to listen to that. God am I pissed that I allowed him to sprint by me at the finish. What's frustrating is that I had no clue how hard to push it, so I kept backing off the pace. I had a slightly faster last mile, but by that time, it was too late. And wow- everyone annoyed me in the race. At one point, I wanted to elbow the guy following a little too closely on the slightly windy section that was run on the dirt. I mean, he had the whole fucking road. I kept thinking, "either pass me or move the fuck over!" Instead, he just sat on my ass. In the past, I would have dropped it into a faster gear and dropped the guy, but I didn't have the confidence or energy this time. I'm hugely disappointed, even though I know I should look at it in a more positive light.

My race report was the following:

warm up + 10K in 46:3X Everything was annoying me, so I knew I was having a bad day. It's my slowest 10K to date. I didn't even make the top 10. Oh well. I got through it, despite the guy breathing down my neck as if it was some kind of national meet, the guy grunting and yelling odd things the entire way and the people who made getting a cup of water into a game of tug of war. I think I muttered fuck a few times and said something about needing to let go to the people at the water station. I was a bit of a grump. Oy. About the only good thing was rallying when a lady gave me some encouraging words at the end. I was about to jog it in when she came up beside me and said, "Let's go!" I can't say I sprinted to the finish, but I did pick it up a little. I finished just a hair in front of her and made sure to thank her for her kindness. I can tell I didn't push hard though, because I was completely recovered by the time I handed my bib number to the race official at the end. I need to learn how to push it again in races. I've got the fear and some mental blah thingy going on. Sigh. Actually, there was more good news. The other good news is that I'm not as crampy and nauseous after the whole cyst ordeal, though last night I had some minor issues after the race. Still, I think any improvement in that dept is good. Another good thing was meeting new and old friends after the race. I even did a cool-down with my old running partner! We haven't run together in years, so it was great to catch up with her. After breaking her foot not too long ago, she ran a little over an hour in the 10K, but she had also run Imogene recently. 


OK, enough of my whining and complaining.

Later in the day, I was able to get my mind off of the not so great race effort by focusing on work. I did notice that my foot was exceptionally sore, but I gave the Dr. a call to see if something can't be done. Later, a friend of mine invited me to go to a fundraiser inducting a few athletes into the new Boulder Athletic Hall of Fame. It was interesting. Had I known that my high school coach would be presenting one of the awards, I might have thought twice about going, but I'm glad I went for a little while. I got to say hello to a few friends and say thank you to Lorraine Moller in person for writing my foreword. She is such an amazing lady and so kind. It was really nice to see her.

My mom is finally home and doing better.

I'll end things here, but I will say that I have been writing, just not much on this blog. Here is the link to another blog post I wrote recently about the SCAR project, something I think is definitely worth mentioning. The manuscript is coming to an end, so I will keep everyone posted about that too.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Not exactly Writer's Block

It's more that I don't feel like writing. Everything is off, and I'm not feeling all that well.

I'll be back eventually, but I'm taking a break from as many things as possible right now. I suddenly feel inadequate and don't know how to take care of whatever it is that's ailing me.

Friday, October 21, 2011

No more race plans

It's time to stop making race plans. It seems the minute I make them, something catastrophic happens. Well, for me, getting sick is a bit of a tragedy. This time I had my eye on a fun little race that seemed almost perfect for me. The only drawback was that there weren't any big hills on the course. Still, the race is a 10K on soft surfaces scheduled later in the morning on Saturday - nice! And then, without warning, I end up in the hospital Wednesday night. Actually, it was Thursday morning, but close enough.

Fortunately, my running partner persuaded me to go to the hospital and was available to take me. I don't think I could have gotten myself there with this kind of pain in my abdomen. For a moment, I was convinced an angry alien was trying to claw its way out of me. I'm overwhelmed with guilt though, because we hit a rabbit on the way over, and despite this being a clear case of a suicidal animal sprinting from out of nowhere directly into the headlights, it felt like some kind of ominous sign foretelling more bad things to come. Either that or it really was one of those fluke accidents that just sort of happens. Either way, I am still feeling bad that the rabbit was hit.


Pain rated in smiley faces
The whole time I was in the hospital, I kept thinking (besides how the hell am I going to pay for this?), "I wonder if I can get out and go for a run Thursday." There were all kinds of delays, even after the diagnosis of a possible ruptured ovarian cyst was given and I started to feel better. Of course the Dilaudid haze was wonderful early on when the pain was at least an 8 out of 10 on the frowy face scale. Actually, I did cry, which looks like that puts me at a 9 or 10 on the scale, but it was a combination of not wanting to go to the hospital and the pain, not just the pain. Man, that rush of feeling that everything is just fine after the Dilaudid is injected into the IV is something else. Because no cyst was actually found, only fluid in my belly that is usually the result of when those things rupture, they couldn't be sure it really was a cyst, even though all the nurses were convinced it was. I ended up having to be admitted to a room, where I watched The Price is Right and at least one other bad, daytime television show. There wasn't even a magazine around to read. I also slept. I can't believe how much I slept yesterday, and I'm still tired! When I finally did get out, I eventually put my running gear on, only to slowly walk-stagger at an incredibly sow pace to the top of the street and back. That was it, no run at all.


I'm still lacking energy today. It's as if someone slipped some scrambled tranquilizers into my breakfast. I honestly feel like I could sleep all day. Sigh. A friend of mine is convinced this is due to a lack of chocolate. She might be right. I'm not even a full month into my 3 months of no chocolate, and I'm already wishing I would have bailed. Now it's too late. It's like getting into a workout not feeling great, but knowing you're already committed. There's no stopping now, even with the temptation of some fine chocolates from Belgium. Carob doesn't cut it, but I did find some carob confections that are a step above what I've had in the past. Somehow adding coconut oil to anything results in a total upgrade. That's really all I can see that is different about these carob treats compared to others. These have coconut oil in them, and somehow that makes them SO MUCH BETTER. It's still not chocolate-not even close, but they're actually kind of good. Still, carob doesn't satisfy me as much as chocolate. I feel like I'm walking around missing something in my life. It's chocolate. It's not the same rush as a bit of Dilaudid, but it does make my brain go, "ahhhh." Carob doesn't quite do that. I found these treats at both Alfalfa's and the Boulder Bookstore.




Check it out: Heavenly Carob Confections.

So no more planning races, at least for a little bit. If one jumps out at me, I'm not going to make any definite plans to run. I can't afford another illness right now, literally!

OK, wish me luck. I'm about to carry my throbbing head out the door for a little jog. I hope this time I can actually jog and also get past the top of the street.

AND OMG! LEFTTURNREALFAST- I found a store that carries little ficelles ! As I have said before, when it comes to bread, I'm all about the crust. Well, a ficelle is a long skinny baguette that's almost all crust. They are PERFECT for me! I can't wait to buy one soon. Mmmmm Bread.

Ficelle
The one I saw in the store was even thinner than this one, which looks almost like a regular baguette, but you get my point.

BTW, I saw I had a few grammatical errors in a few of my posts. Sometimes I get too in my head when writing and forget to check for little things like subject-verb agreement. I'll try to do a better job about correcting those things.   :/

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Bread Blog or a Blog Roll?

Apparently I need a camera. It seems that many pictures are what makes a blog popular, especially if the images are of things you like to eat- some oatmeal, a cup of fruit or dessert in various stages of being eaten. It's supposedly even better if these things are healthy. Of course I can't leave out bread in what's considered the best in the blogging world. Bead seems to be a big hit. People get all excited about it. It's not quite the same as chocolate, which can cause people to become more than a little obsessed, but lately all things doughy seem to generate extreme interest. Therefore, the following is a toast (get it?? toast?) to bread.




I found the funniest blog post the other day in a blog called Bread for the Boys. Actually it's the title that's funny, not the actual post. The post is called The Yeasty Boys. I know it's not horribly exciting, but I found the name cute. Plus, the recipe and photos are nice. I've become intrigued with bread after making fun of people who post a slew of images of rolls and slices of bread and toast in their blogs. Of curse, these are generally the same people who think that everyone is interested in seeing the same bowl of yogurt, fruit and cereal that was in the last 20 posts. It's always a thrill when the bowl is tilted at a slightly different angle, or the author uses raspberries instead of blueberries. That's a thrill. It's possible that my story about pulling bread innards out of my Ciabatta rolls wasn't a highlight of this blog, so I'm on a mission to do bread some justice, while testing the theory that pictures of bread make a blog popular. Still, I'm challenging myself to write a post about bread that will be more interesting (hopefully) than posting a ton of images like this:


Bread

         It's not gourmet magazine, but it seems to generate an incredible amount of interest.


When I was in France, my mom and I had some fabulous bread. It's not uncommon to see people in the evenings on their way home from work, carrying a fine baguette with the end missing. The end is my favorite part. I think I have already explained that I'm all about the crust. Being from France, my mother often brought home french goodies from a local gourmet shop. It was natural that I grew up consuming baguettes instead of Wonder Bread. In addition to my quest to find LeNotre in Paris, a shop that carries some of the best chocolates in the world, my mom and I were determined to find the world famous Poilane bakery. After giving up on LeNotre after several days of not being able to find it, we stumbled upon it in the antique district. The chocolates were, indeed, phenomenal - by far some of the best I have ever eaten. Eventually we found Poilane's Bakery too. I remember walking in and being overwhelmed by the beauty of the boules. We bought two boules (I love that word)- one to eat in France and one to smuggle back to the United States. We also brought back loads of chocolate, cheese and a few other items. Getting through customs was a little tricky. I thought I might have to pretend that the aroma coming from the stinky cheese was my dirty socks, but the guy in charge merely laughed and said, "what, they don't feed you in the United States?" I responded with, "Not this kind of food!"


Beautiful Boules of Bread


Bread in Europe, as I have said before, is not like bread here. There are a few places in Boulder that make exceptionally good bread, but in general, it's hard to find. I can't stand squishy bagels, soft baguettes and English muffins that lack those little holes. What I do like are bagels that are hard on the outside and chewy with air holes on the inside. Baguettes should be crunchy on the outside and light and airy on the inside, and English muffins need to have holes, people!

For this next part, let me use the the Ciabatta roll as an example, because I'm into that kind of bread lately. I'll take you through what I consider to be the best and the worst when it comes to this yeasty baked good.

Ciabatta bread should be light. It shouldn't feel like a cinder block in your hand. The outer crust should be rustic, fairly hearty and crunchy, none of that soft bullshit. I don't want to be able to squeeze my bread like a roll of toilet paper on a T.V. ad. The insides should not be compressed or overly soft. Instead, the brinnards (yes it is now a real UD term!) should be slightly chewy with plenty of air holes. Here's a good example of the inside of a Ciabatta roll:

Check out the holes! Awesome. 

Here is a not so good example of the innards:

Blah- look how compressed this shit is! 

Here's an example of how the crust should be:

Mmm - nice and crunchy!

And here is a crust that's not appropriate for this bread:

AAK! It's anemic and under-cooked. I bet it's all mushy too. 



Nothing beats good bread with a bit of butter. To me, it's often better than cake, though there are a few cakes that do make me swoon.Still, this kind of bread toasted with a pat of butter is divine.

That's all I got at the moment. As soon as I get a camera, I'll start posting images of cereal and sandwiches... Don't hold your breath though.